Emerging from the swampy suburbs of the inner-west, Old Men Of Moss Mountain have fast proved themselves as one of Sydney’s most innovative hip hop crew, eschewing the popular conception of the genre and reaching fans well outside it’s usual sphere. Their music which blends influences from such disparate genres as classic pop and tribal chanting, psychedelic rock and grime, in the short time since they started playing shows earlier this year they have already received attention from triple j and FBi, the latter putting two of their tracks from their Swamp EP on rotation.
Having trimmed back the show of late into a well oiled machine, the trio are set to play the Chocolate Jesus Industries Stage at Iguana Bar for tonight’s Go Here Go There event presented by Mum, along with Chocolate Jesus Industries. Eager for a word ahead of the show we caught up with Rollo Anderson, better known as MC Polyphics for a quick chat.
Music Feeds: You guys have pretty original sound in terms of the local hip hop scene, can you tell me why?
Rollo Anderson: The weirder side of US and UK hip hop got to us early, blending with the straight up rap we’d been listening to since little. The weird stuff inspired us to make our own version of an already malleable genre.
MF: You seem to draw on a wide range of influences beyond hip hop, could you tell me more about that?
RA: Yeah our combined tastes cover pretty much the entire spectrum of recorded music, and since all of us were making other kinds of stuff before hip hop, it all just kind of fed in. Ultimately though you don’t consciously set out to ‘make music that sounds like X’, you just make what gets you going.
MF: Can you think of any new sounds or directions you might be working with in the future?
RA: Taking the project live has really pushed us towards new things and experiments. Also working with the people you meet in other bands and crews and the flavours they give you. A lot of our new stuff coming out soon has blended the gritty sci fi sound with a Big Beat style and it’s sounding pretty explosive, so we’ll ride that train for a bit.
MF: Your lyrics can be pretty dense at times, do you ever worry about fans missing the point or meaning of the songs?
RA: It’s obviously important for people to get what’s going on in tracks, but its also cool if people need to listen a few times to a song in order to really appreciate the lyrical and conceptual content. You don’t want to water anything down, but it is a fine line.
MF: Existing on the fringe of it at the moment, how would you categorise the local hip hop scene?
RA: There’s way more going on out there than anyone other than a devout hip-hopper can be aware of, and whenever you say ‘oh, all the shit going on is this and that’ because people will always respond ‘well you haven’t heard these guys or these guys’. But at least you can say that the Oz hip hop you hear on radio is definitely same old same old so either no one’s making brave and exciting shit, or radio doesn’t play it.
MF: Are there any other local acts you’re inspired by or enjoy?
RA: Heaps, from a variety of styles and sounds. It’s a really fresh scene on the live front at the moment but you’ve got to get to it all which is hard. There’s obviously a lot of mediocrity as always.
MF: Australia has only recently gotten over it’s aversion to local hip hop, has that affected how you feel about your music or how you pursue it?
RA: This question is unnecessarily complex.
MF: Your debut release, the Swamp EP did pretty well for a completely self-funded and independent release, getting played on triple j and two of the songs being put on rotation at FBi, can we expect some more material soon and if so how will it compare to Swamp?
RA: By the turn of the decade there will be Christmas gifts of loveable new tracks in the air. They develop the theme.
MF: You’re playing Iguana bar Fri 3rd Dec as part of the Chocolate Jesus Industries stage, any more shows we should keep an eye out for?
RA: Dec 12 we do an intimate gig at Mersey Sounds spoken word night which is one of the most excellent nights to attend in Sydney right now, then the stupendous Kwanza party at OAF on the 22nd where we’re gonna have twenty copies of a special release Kwanza edition of the new single, very tasty.
MF: What’s the deal with airline food?
RA: Yeah, how do they get it to be so good?